Cascade Mall shooting

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2016 Cascade Mall shooting
Part of mass shootings in the United States
Cascade mall shooter.png
Closed-circuit television stills of the shooter
Cascade Mall shooting is located in Washington (state)
Cascade Mall shooting
Cascade Mall shooting (Washington (state))
Cascade Mall shooting is located in the United States
Cascade Mall shooting
Cascade Mall shooting (the United States)
LocationCascade Mall, Burlington, Washington, U.S.
Coordinates48°27′44″N 122°20′16″W / 48.462213°N 122.337782°W / 48.462213; -122.337782Coordinates: 48°27′44″N 122°20′16″W / 48.462213°N 122.337782°W / 48.462213; -122.337782
DateSeptember 23, 2016
6:52 p.m. (PDT)
Attack type
Mass shooting, mass murder
WeaponsRuger 10/22 rifle[1]
PerpetratorArcan Cetin[3]

On September 23, 2016, a mass shooting occurred at Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, U.S. Five people were killed in the incident. The gunman was identified as Arcan Cetin, a 20-year-old who emigrated from Turkey as a child with his family.[4] He was arrested the following day in Oak Harbor, Washington, his hometown.[5] On September 26, he confessed to committing the shooting.[6] On April 16, 2017, Cetin committed suicide by hanging himself in his jail cell.[7][8]


On September 23, 2016, Cetin bought tickets to an evening showing of the movie Snowden at Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington. He propped open the theater's exit door with his cell phone and left the theater, an action reminiscent of how the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting was carried out. However, a theater associate found the phone and turned it in to a theater kiosk, where Cetin subsequently retrieved it.[9] Shortly before 7:00 p.m. PDT on the same day, Cetin walked into a Macy's store at Cascade Mall with a stolen rifle and opened fire,[10][11] killing four women and one man,[5] the latter of whom died the next day at a Seattle hospital.[12]

Video footage of the shooting, released on October 28, showed the gunman randomly targeting his victims. He first killed a woman near some clothing racks, then approached a cosmetics counter, where he killed one man and three women. All of the victims were shot at close range, while others present in the store escaped unharmed because of their distance from the shooter. Afterwards, the gunman abandoned his weapon and fled the scene in a blue four-door vehicle.[13]

The FBI and ATF provided assistance to the Burlington police and Washington state police in investigating the shooting.[14]

The shooting followed a number of widely publicized attacks on shopping centers, and came a week after a mass stabbing at the Crossroads Center shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota.[15]


Five people were killed in the shooting. They were Sarai Lara (16), a sophomore at Mount Vernon High School and cancer survivor;[16] Chuck Eagan (61), a Boeing maintenance worker from Lake Stevens;[17] Belinda Galde (64), a probation officer with the Snohomish County District Court;[18] Beatrice Dotson (95), Galde's mother;[19] and Shayla Martin (52), a make-up artist at Macy's.[20]

Legal proceedings[edit]

Cetin was charged with "premeditated intent" on five counts of aggravated murder, a charge that was upgraded from the initial charge of first-degree premeditated murder. The charge of aggravated murder is punishable by a sentence of life without parole, or, at the time of the shooting, by the death penalty.[15]


Arcan Cetin[3] (pronounced [aɾˈdʒan tʃeˈtin], August 20, 1996 – April 16, 2017) was born in Adana, Turkey. He immigrated to the United States as a child after his mother married a U.S. citizen. Authorities initially identified him as a "permanent resident" until further investigation found that he was a naturalized American citizen.[21] He graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 2015[22] and worked as a bagger at the Commissary in Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.[23][24]

Cetin was arrested without incident on the evening of September 24 while he was walking on Oak Harbor Road at Northeast Seventh Avenue in Oak Harbor, Washington.[22] Two days later, he confessed to the shooting.[25] Cetin was charged with five counts of aggravated murder. He was being evaluated for mental health concerns.[26]

Cetin had prior arrests; he was a defendant in seven cases in Island County District Court from 2013 to 2015 and was arrested in July 2015 on charges of assault in the fourth degree.[22] Cetin was ordered to undergo mental health counseling, which he completed in March 2016. The court also imposed an order for him not to take drugs or drink alcohol. As of August 25, 2016, no breach of the court order against Cetin had been identified.[27]

On April 17, 2017, the media reported that Cetin had hanged himself the previous night in the Snohomish County Jail.[28][29][30] An investigation by the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office concluded that Cetin had committed suicide.[7][8]

Possible motive[edit]

Police have not determined a motive for the shooting. Before Cetin's arrest, authorities stated they had no reason to believe the incident was related to terrorism.[31][32][33] Cetin told authorities that he was interested in the activities of ISIS, but when asked if the terrorist group had inspired his actions he replied, "I can't answer that."[9][34] On social media, Cetin posted photos of serial killer Ted Bundy and Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.[35]

On September 25, 2016, reports said that Cetin may have been motivated by the break-up of a relationship with a worker from the Macy's store he targeted, but at the time the ex-girlfriend had not worked there in months and lived in another county.[4] Authorities alleged that Cetin called out women's names as he killed his victims during the shooting.[36][9]


Initial reporting had revealed that Cetin had completed the legal steps to become a voter and had voted three times despite apparently not being a United States citizen. According to Washington's Secretary of State Kim Wyman, his voting "shined a light in a hole in the voter registration system" as county auditors were not allowed to check the citizenship of voters; Wyman said she would submit a package to the legislature addressing this.[37] It was later determined that Cetin was a naturalized US citizen and therefore permitted to vote.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Would the Cascade Mall gun fall under proposed weapons ban?". September 27, 2016.
  2. ^ Mele, Christopher (September 23, 2016). "5 Dead in Shooting at Mall in Washington State, Police Say". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Man suspected of killing 5 people at Burlington mall arrested in Oak Harbor". KOMO. September 25, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Solis, Steph (September 25, 2016). "What we know about Arcan Cetin, Washington state mall shooting suspect". USA Today. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Karimi, Faith; Pavlak, Shanna; Sutton, Joe (September 24, 2016). "Washington mall shooting: Manhunt underway after gunman kills 5". CNN. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  6. ^ Allard, Jody; Lyke, M.L.; Wang, Amy B. (September 26, 2016). "Washington mall shooting suspect confesses to killings". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Suspect in Cascade Mall shooting that killed 5 died of suicide in jail, sheriff's probe confirms". Q13 FOX News. June 13, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  8. ^ a b North, Scott; King, Rikki (August 4, 2017). "Reports detail accused mall shooter's suicide at county jail". HeraldNet. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Bellisle, Martha (November 18, 2016). "Suspect in Washington mall shooting began at theater". New Jersey Herald. Archived from the original on November 20, 2016. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  10. ^ "Tips from public lead to arrest of Burlington mall shooting suspect". KING-TV. September 25, 2016. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  11. ^ Solis, Steph; Hughes, Trevor (September 25, 2016). "Washington mall shooting suspect to face 5 murder charges". USA Today. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  12. ^ Dicasimirro, Gemma; Jamieson, Alastair; Sederholm, Jillian; Chuck, Elizabeth (September 24, 2016). "Macy's Shooting: Police Plead for Help IDing Gunman After 5 Killed at Washington Mall". NBC News. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  13. ^ McNerthney, Casey (October 28, 2016). "Cascade Mall shooting video released in Arcan Cetin case". KIRO. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
  14. ^ "Fifth victim dies in Cascade Mall shooting in Burlington; suspect remains at large". KCPQ. September 23, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Young, Matt (January 10, 2017). "Upgraded charges mean Cascade Mall shooting suspect Arcan Cetin could face death penalty". AP. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  16. ^ Lee, Jessica; Maker, Mike (September 24, 2016). "16-year-old cancer survivor among the dead; victims' families grieve". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016. Lara, a Mount Vernon High School sophomore, was one of five people killed when a gunman opened fire in the Burlington department store.
  17. ^ Hammett, Yvette C.; Connolly, Amy R. (September 25, 2016). "Suspected gunman charged with 1st-degree murder in Washington state mall shooting". UPI. Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Chuck Eagan, a longtime Boeing maintenance worker from Lake Stevens, was also a victim, according to his aunt, Carol Thrush. She said Eagan and his wife had gone out to dinner and to the mall to shop and were in Macy's when the shooter began his rampage.
  18. ^ "The Latest: Mall shooting victim was probation officer". Fox News. Associated Press. September 25, 2016. Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016. The Snohomish County District Court in a statement identified Belinda Galde as an employee with the court since 1989.
  19. ^ "Cascade Mall shooting victims: Remembering the 5 people killed". KIRO-TV. September 25, 2016. Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Beatrice was 95 years old.
  20. ^ "The victims in the Cascade Mall shooting". KCPQ. September 25, 2016. Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  21. ^ a b Brand, Natalie (September 30, 2016). "Cascade Mall suspect is U.S. citizen". KING-TV. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  22. ^ a b c Stensland, Jesse (September 24, 2016). "Mall shooting suspect arrested in Oak Harbor". Whidbey News-Times. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  23. ^ Wang, Amy B.; Rein, Lisa; Hauslohner, Abigail (September 25, 2016). "Authorities seeking motive in Washington state mall shooting that killed five". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 26, 2016. In posts on his Facebook page, Cetin described himself as working as a bagger at Whidbey Island Commissary
  24. ^ "Suspect in Cascade Mall shooting expected to make first court appearance". KIRO-TV. September 26, 2016. Archived from the original on September 26, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016. Acquaintances say Cetin had been working at the commissary at Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island.
  25. ^ Hersher, Rebecca (September 26, 2016). "Accused Washington State Mall Gunman Reportedly Confesses To Killing 5 People". Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  26. ^ Kim, Hana (January 5, 2017). "Judge grants defense motion for mental evaluation of accused Cascade Mall shooter". Q13 FOX News. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  27. ^ "Suspect in custody after mall shooting in Burlington, Wash". KIRO 7. September 25, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  28. ^ TEGNA. "Cascade Mall shooting suspect Arcan Cetin dies in jail".
  29. ^ Staff, KIRO 7 News (April 17, 2017). "Cascade Mall shooter Arcan Cetin dies in jail".
  30. ^ "Prosecutor: Burlington Mall shooter killed himself in jail". April 17, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  31. ^ "Washington state attack: Burlington mall fatalities rise to five". BBC News. September 24, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  32. ^ Winsor, Morgan; Caplan, David (September 24, 2016). "Manhunt Continues for Gunman in Seattle-Area Mall Shooting That Killed 5". ABC News. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  33. ^ "City 'changed forever' as authorities hunt mall gunman". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. September 24, 2016. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  34. ^ "City 'changed forever' as authorities hunt mall gunman". Associated Press. AP. September 26, 2016.
  35. ^ "Mall shooting suspect: 'Creepy,' multiple arrests, disputes". AP. Associated Press. September 26, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  36. ^ Anderson, Rick (September 25, 2016). "A portrait of violence emerges of suspect in the Washington state mall killings". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  37. ^ KOMO, News (September 26, 2016). "Mall shooter fallout: Secretary of state to propose citizenship checks for voters". KOMO News. Retrieved March 5, 2021. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)